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For the automobile storage compartment, see Trunk (car). For other uses, see Boot

Ancient Egyptian pair of terracotta boots. Early geometric period cremation burial of a woman, 900
BC, Ancient Agora Museum, Athens

Cowboy boots custom made for President Harry S. Truman.

A boot is a type of footwear and a specific type of shoe. Most boots mainly cover the foot and
the ankle, while some also cover some part of the lower calf. Some boots extend up the leg,
sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly
distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally
made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn
both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, extreme cold, mud or hazards
(e.g., work boots may protect wearers from chemicals or use a steel toe) or providing additional
ankle support for strenuous activities with added traction requirements (e.g., hiking), or may
have hobnails on their undersides to protect against wear and to get better grip; and for reasons
of style and fashion.
In some cases, the wearing of boots may be required by laws or regulations, such as the
regulations in some jurisdictions requiring workers on construction sites to wear steel-toed safety
boots. Some uniforms include boots as the regulated footwear. Boots are recommended as well
for motorcycle riders. High-top athletic shoes are generally not considered boots, even though
they do cover the ankle, primarily due to the absence of a distinct heel. In Britain, the term may
be used to refer to football (soccer) cleats.


 1History
 2Types and uses
o 2.1Practical uses
o 2.2Fashion and fetish use
 3Boot parts and accessories
 4As symbols
o 4.1In heraldry
o 4.2Idioms and cultural references
 5See also
 6References
 7External links


Oxhide boots from Loulan, Xinjiang, China. Former Han dynasty 220 BC – AD 8.

Early boots consisted of separate leggings, soles, and uppers worn together to provide greater
ankle protection than shoes or sandals. Around 1000 BC, these components were more
permanently joined to form a single unit that covered the feet and lower leg, often up to the knee.
A type of soft leather ankle boots were worn by nomads in eastern Asia and carried to China to
India and Russia around AD 1200 to 1500 by Mongolinvaders. The Inuit and Aleut natives of
Alaska developed traditional winter boots of caribou skin or sealskin featuring decorative touches
of seal intestine, dog hair and suchlike. The early Dutch Masters were the first to define the boot
in European iconography, in spite of the fact that the Chinese had been using footwear that the
average Frenchman or Portuguese sailor of the day would have recognized as a boot for
centuries at that time. Most historians agree, though, that the first codified definition of the boot
was entered into law by Royal decree during the Hundred Years War, when the Duke of Wales
wrote, "that sturdy, stiff shyue off a type ne'er seent heretofore wi' high scuppers and ye nailes
on the souyle." Sporadic wars were fought among city states during this time as the Protestants
rejected that definition, but history vindicated the Duke eventually, and the Roche family of
Nantucket actually rose to prominence more as a result if their trade in these boots in the
colonies than from their whaling endeavors. European boots were influenced by military styles,
featuring thick soles and turnover tops that were originally designed to protect horse mounted
soldiers. In the 1700s, distinctive, thigh-high boots worn by Hessian soldiers fighting in
the American Revolutionary War influenced the development of the iconic heeled cowboy
boots worn by cattlemen in the American west.[1]

Types and uses[edit]

Practical uses[edit]

A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant S3 steel-toed safety boots designed for construction workers.

A pair of A-12 OXCART Flight Suit Boots

Boots which are designed for walking through snow, shallow water and mud may be made of a
single closely stitched design (using leather, rubber, canvas, or similar material) to prevent the
entry of water, snow, mud or dirt through gaps between the laces and tongue found in other
types of shoes. Waterproof gumboots are made in different lengths of uppers. In extreme cases,
thigh-boots called waders, worn by anglers, extend to the hip. Such boots may also be insulated
for warmth. With the exception of gum boots, boots sold in general retail stores may be
considered "water resistant," as they are not usually fully waterproof, compared to high-end
boots for fishers or hikers.
Speciality boots have been made to protect steelworkers' feet and calves if they get accidentally
step in puddles of molten metal, to protect workers from a variety of chemical exposure, to
protect workers from construction site hazards and to protect feet from extreme cold (e.g., with
insulated or inflatable boots for use in Antarctica). Most work boots are "laceups" made from
leather. Formerly they were usually shod with hobnails and heel- and toe-plates, but now can
usually be seen with a thick rubber sole, and often with steel toecaps.
Boots are normally worn with socks to prevent chafes and blisters, to absorb sweat, to improve
the foot's grip inside the boot, or to insulate the foot from the cold. Before socks became widely
available, footwraps were worn instead.
Specialty boots have been designed for many different types of sports,
particularly riding, skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, and sporting in wet/damp conditions.
Fashion and fetish use[edit]
A pair of "classic" black leather Doc Martens. While these boots were originally designed as workwear
(they are resistant to petrol, alkaline chemicals and other substances), they were adopted as a fashion item
by the skinhead and punk subcultures.

Bovver boots, Doc Martens boots and army boots were adopted by skinheads and punks as part
of their typical dress and have migrated to more mainstream fashion, including women's
wear.[2] As a more rugged alternative to dress shoes, dress boots may be worn (though these can
be more formal than shoes). Fashionable boots for women may exhibit all the variations seen in
other fashion footwear: tapered or spike heels, platform soles, pointed toes, zipper closures and
the like. The popularity of boots as fashion footwear ebbs and flows. Singer Nancy
Sinatra popularized the fad of women wearing boots in the late 1960s with her song "These
boots are made for walking". They were popular in the 1960s and 1970s (particularly knee-high
boots), but diminished in popularity towards the end of the 20th century. In the 2010s, they are
experiencing a resurgence in popularity, especially designs with a long bootleg. Boot bolos, boot
bracelets, boot straps, boot chains, and boot harnesses are used to decorate boots. Sandal
boots also exist.

High leather boots are the object of sexual attraction by some people, notably boot fetishists.

A pair of hobnailed boots

Boots have become the object of sexual attraction for some people and they have become a
standard accessory in the BDSM scene (where leather, latex and PVC boots are favoured) and a
fashion accessory in music videos.[3][4] Knee- or thigh-high leather boots are worn by some
strippers and pornography models and actresses. Boots have even become a sexual fetish for
devotees known as boot fetishists and foot fetishists.

Boot parts and accessories[edit]

Boot hooks (left) and a boot jack(right) are sometimes required to put on or take off some types of boots

This section needs expansion. You

can help by adding to it. (July 2015)

 Spats
 Boot jack
 For the parts of a boot, see Hiking boot#Parts

As symbols[edit]
In heraldry[edit]

Coat of arms of Areschesmunicipality in France displays a boot in the dexter field.

As boots have been used by riders for millennia, they were used by knights. As a consequence,
albeit not common, boots came to be used as charges in heraldry.
Because of the origin of heraldry as insignia used by mounted warriors like the medieval knights,
when boots are used in heraldry, they are often displayed as riding boots, even if
the blazon might not specify it as such. They are sometimes adorned with spurs, which may or
may not have another tincture (colour) than the boot and the background field.
Boots were also used in coats of arms of shoemakers' guilds and in shop signs outside their
Idioms and cultural references[edit]
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please
help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2014) (Learn
how and when to remove this template message)

Further information: bootstrapping and booting

A pair of tall riding boots

Calfhigh leather boots with stiletto heel (Le Silla).

 Boots that are particularly old and well worn, or a similarly tough item are referred to as being
tough and strong with the phrase "tough as old boots."[5]
 A discarded boot may be used in the construction of a musical instrument known as
the "mendoza."
 Tall (high) boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing
one to use fingers or a tool to provide better leverage in getting the boots on. The figurative
use "to pull one's self up by one's bootstraps" in the sense of "ability to perform a difficult
task without external help" developed in the 19th century in US English.[6] The term
"bootstrapping" was subsequently used in a metaphorical sense in a number of fields,
notably computing (which uses the term "bootup" to describe the process of starting a
computer and in entrepreneurship, which uses the term "bootstrapping" to describe start-up
companies which are launched without major external financing.
 To "die with one's boots on" means to die while one is still actively involved in work or to go
down fighting. Popularized by Wild West movies.[7]
 Boot camp: a colloquial term for the initial recruit training of a new recruit enlisting in
a military organization or armed force. In this context, a "boot" is just such a recruit.
 Stormtroopers and other agents of authority or units used for political strongarm tactics such
as intimidation are typically referred to by their detractors as "jackbooted thugs," a reference
to the hobnailed military jackboot of the World War I German Stormtrooper and
later Naziuniform. Authoritarian rule, either by hostile military forces, or by groups of armed
intimidators, is imposed by "jackboot tactics."
 To "give one the boot" means to kick one out (of a job, a club, etc.) or expel one, either
literally or figuratively.
 To "put the boot in" is an idiom for inflicting violence on someone.
 "The boot is on the other foot now" means that a situation has become reversed—a previous
victor is now losing, for example.
 Wearing "seven-league boots" references a classic children's fairy tale and indicates that a
person or company can cover great distances, figuratively or literally, in a single stride.
 To "shake/quake in one's boots" means to be very frightened, and is mostly used
 "Knocking boots" is slang for having sex, regardless of whether either person is wearing
 Due to its shape, it is often referred to in Italy as "lo Stivale" (the Boot)

A pair of New Rock boots, popular in the Gothic and biker subcultures

See also[edit]
 List of boots
 Boot cut
 Boot fetishism
 Boot throwing
 Gumboot dance
 Kinky boots
 Wellie wanging

1. Jump up^ Fiona McDonald (30 July 2006). Shoes and Boots Through History. Gareth
Stevens. ISBN 978-0-8368-6857-9. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 26
January 2012.
2. Jump up^ Margo DeMello (1 September 2009). Feet and footwear: a cultural encyclopedia.
Macmillan. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-0-313-35714-5. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013.
Retrieved 29 January 2012.
3. Jump up^ XBIZ. "Kinky Boots: An Enduring Symbol in Fetish Fashion". XBIZ.
4. Jump up^ "Work Boots for Men ~ Every Occasion!". Bootratings. Archived from the original on 15
December 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
5. Jump up^ "American English Thesaurus". "as tough as old boots" phrase. Macmillan Publishers
Limited 2009–2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
6. Jump up^ "It's been widely suggested that the "bootstrap" metaphor originated in the legendary
tales of Baron von Münchhausen. As Chris Waigl recently pointed out on the Eggcorn Database
(commenting on "boots-trap"), the original German version has a scene in which Münchhausen
gets out of a swamp by pulling on his own hair. In an American retelling (supposedly), the Baron
uses his bootstraps to pull himself out of a similar predicament. None of the 19th-century cites I've
seen allude to the Münchhausen story -- instead, they often refer to pulling oneself over a fence or
up a steeple. So if Münchhausen really pulls himself up by his bootstraps in an American version
(which I have yet to verify), then the writer probably took advantage of preexisting imagery for an
absurdly impossible task." Benjamin Zimmer, American Dialect Society, 11 August 2005 [dead link]
7. Jump up^ "boot". The Free Dictionary, 2012 by Farlex, Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2012.

External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has
media related to Boots.

 Footwear History
 The History of Boots (Archived August 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.)






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